The NRC style of feeding does away with ratios and percentages of body weight entirely. Instead, it is a much more precise method of feeding that achieves nutritional balance by utilizing the nutrient requirements established by the National Research Council in 2006. When feeding to NRC standards, you know that your dog is meeting all of his or her requirements with no guesswork. Specific equations/calculations for each nutrient determine exactly how much your dog requires daily, and are based off of his or her specific needs.
Generally speaking, recipes that meet NRC standards are formulated above your dog’s recommended allowance, which allows us to account for vitamin and mineral interactions, anti-nutrients present in some foods, and any bioavailability concerns.
Because this style allows us to specifically target wellness concerns with targeted nutrition, it is the recommended style of feeding for dogs with issues that range from gastrointestinal upset and food intolerances to renal failure and cancer. But beyond just therapeutic nutrition, feeding to a nutritional standard allows us to utilize proactive nutrition, supporting your dog’s optimal health and longevity well before there is a specific health concern to treat. It is the method with which I feed my own dogs, and I would love to utilize the science that we have to help you feed your dogs an optimal diet, too!
NRC recipes can be raw, cooked, or somewhere in between. While most healthy, adult dogs do exceptionally well on raw diets, there are extenuating circumstances where a cooked diet is indicated. Old age, a compromised immune system, certain health conditions, owner aversion, and general canine pickiness are all common reasons why a cooked diet might be a better fit for you and your dog! Despite common belief, cooking doesn’t “destroy the nutrients” in meat and organs. By using the “low and slow” cooking method and retaining the liquid leftover from the cooking process, the vast majority of the nutrients remain well preserved.
*In cases of entirely cooked diets, raw meaty bones can be swapped for calcium carbonate or finely ground eggshell.